Russell A. Berman

Senior Fellow

Russell A. Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a co-chair of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.

Berman specializes in the study of German literary history and cultural politics. He is a member of both the Department of German Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford. He has served in numerous administrative positions at Stanford.

He is the author of numerous articles and books including Enlightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture (1998) and The Rise of the Modern German Novel: Crisis and Charisma (1986), both of which won the Outstanding Book Award of the German Studies Association (in 2000 and 1987, respectively). Hoover Institution Press published his books In Retreat: America's Withdrawal from the Middle East (2014), Freedom or Terror: Europe Faces Jihad (2010), and Anti-Americanism in Europe: A Cultural Problem (2004). His other books include Fiction Sets You Free: Literature, Liberty, and Western Culture (2007), Cultural Studies of Modern Germany: Representation and Nationhood (1993), Modern Culture and Critical Theory: Art, Politics, and the Legacy of the Frankfurt School (1989), and Between Fontane and Tucholsky: Literary Criticism and the Public Sphere in Wilhelmine Germany (1983). He has also published numerous articles in the Hoover Digest, most recently "Marx’s Moldering Manifesto" (fall 2018). His writings have also appeared in Defining Ideas and Advancing a Free Society.

Berman has received many honors and awards including a Mellon Faculty Fellowship at Harvard University (1982–83), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1988–89), and the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany (1997).

Berman received his BA in 1972 from Harvard and his doctorate from Washington University in 1979.

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Recent Commentary


Macron, Trump, And The Question Of The Nation

by Russell A. Bermanvia Telos Press
Monday, October 26, 2020

From the beginning of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency and throughout his administration, the most consistent point of orientation in his politics has been the priority of the nation. It informed the slogan “Make America Great Again,” which initially shocked political sensibilities, since it implied the accusation that previous bipartisan political leadership had stood by during a decline or even facilitated a loss of greatness. 

To Protect and to Serve

by Russell A. Bermanvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 19, 2020
As globalization totters and disease spreads, an old principle—the sovereignty of the individual state—re-emerges as a bulwark of freedom.

Nagorno-Karabakh: Not All Politics Are Local

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Hill
Saturday, October 17, 2020

Is the eruption of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh the world’s first COVID war? The three co-chairs of the Minsk Process – France, Russia and the United States – that have been trying to resolve the conflict since 1992 are each distracted by rising infection numbers, not to mention the approaching American election. 

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Perspectives from Germany, China, and Hong Kong

interview with Michael R. Auslin, Russell A. Bermanvia Fellow Talks
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Hoover Fellows Michael Auslin and Russell Berman discuss perspectives from Germany, China, and Hong Kong.


The Dilemma Of America’s Strategy For Europe

by Russell A. Bermanvia National Interest
Sunday, October 11, 2020

America can rebuild its trans-Atlantic ties to Germany and France through alignments of shared diplomatic and security goals. Such alignments can serve to contain America’s great-power competitors, Russia and China.

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Lessons From Socialism In East Germany

by Russell A. Bermanvia PolicyEd
Thursday, October 8, 2020

The experiences of East and West Germany after World War II offer an insightful comparison that highlights socialism’s empty promise of prosperity.

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Leaving Socialism Behind: A Lesson From Germany

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Communist ideology doomed not only East Germany’s economy but also its political and cultural life.


Left Fascism

by Russell A. Bermanvia Tablet Magazine
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Writing off the threat of ‘far-left fascism’ because Trump used the phrase in a speech ignores the deep roots of America’s current revolutionary moment


Leaving Socialism Behind: A Lesson From German History

by Russell A. Bermanvia Socialism and Free Market Capitalism: The Human Prosperity Project
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The well-known images of East Germans eagerly pouring into West Berlin on the night of November 9, 1989, have become symbols of the beginning of the end of the Cold War and, more specifically, evidence of the failure of Communist rule in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) and its socialist economic system. Yet that historic moment was only the final dramatic high point in the long history of dissatisfaction with living conditions in the eastern territory of Germany, first occupied by the Red Army during the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and, four years later, established as the GDR when, in Winston Churchill’s words, the Iron Curtain fell across the continent.


Yes, America Needs Alternatives To Troops In Germany

by Russell A. Bermanvia National Interest
Monday, September 21, 2020

Germany does not seem willing to defend itself or let its bases be used if an actual war broke out.